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Queen Mathilde in New York to continue her UN work

Queen Mathilde of the Belgians has travelled to New York City to attend the United Nations annual General Assembly, in her role as Advocate for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Her Majesty arrived in the Big Apple on 17th September 2023, but began her agenda the following day with a meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Deputy Secretary General Amina J Mohammed. 

She then attended a session of the UN’s organisation for children, UNICEF, during which, alongside other speakers, she addressed the audience about the SDGs’ implementation strategies for the most vulnerable children. 

The Queen ended her day with a meeting with US First Lady, Dr Jill Biden, with whom she shares a specific focus on the crucial role that education plays in forging the newest generations of citizens. 

Her second day, 19th September, was dedicated to the talk about the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals within the General Assembly; she started her day with attending the summit about SDGs, before holding a meeting with some of the young participants. 

The United Nations grant some young people the opportunity to take part in the annual General Assembly through their “Young Delegates” programme; students of diplomacy and political science, international relations and fields related to the SDGs are given the opportunity to not only discuss the same topics as the General Assembly in a younger setting, but also to watch the works of the actual Assembly, and how they discuss to reach agreements. 

Queen Mathilde’s afternoon was dedicated to a meeting about work conditions, which need to be implemented through the ILO (International Labour Organisation, the UN organism for labour regulations), as well as female empowerment – both these topics are part of the SDGs. 

Her last day, September 20th, is expected to be dedicated to mental health and the issue of refugees, the latter being especially relevant at this time, given the talks that are happening at the EU level following a sharp rise of migrant arrivals within Europe’s borders. 

Queen Mathilde will then quickly fly back to Brussels, where she is expected on September 21st for the viewing of “Cassandra”, a new Belgian opera dedicated to climate change. 

Queen Mathilde was named Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals in 2016, shortly after the United Nations published their 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with the objective of implementing them by 2030 (which is why they are also referred to as the 2023 UN Agenda). 

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